Late career

55 or over? Don't give up on solid pay raises

Experienced employees must go into salary negotiations with the same expectations as their younger colleagues, says IDA's expert in salary negotiations, Lars Budde. A good preparation is to check the page in IDA's Salary Statistics on salary increases in relation to candidate age.

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Is it the end of big salary increases just because you have reached the last quarter of your working life? No, is the answer from Lars Budde Nielsen, IDA's expert in salary development. 

"You can be a bit cheated by the percentage salary development. But if we're talking cold cash, there isn't much of a difference in how much a 25-year-old can increase in salary compared to a 55-year-old," he says.

Lars Budde Nielsen believes that the most important figures that an IDA member should familiarize themself with before a salary negotiation are IDA's salary statistics on page 5. This shows the percentage increase in salary of IDA's members, depending on when they graduated. And it provides a benchmark for what you can expect to see a rise in salary. But it must of course be seen in the context of, among other things IDA's salary forecast (In Danish), which predicts that salaries will generally increase by 6 per cent in 2024, while prices are expected to increase by 3 per cent.

In 2023, a privately employed IDA member with a 30-year-old master's degree received a 4.0 percent salary increase, while a recent graduate increased about 9.7 percent. Assuming that the former has a salary of DKK 70,000 and the latter receives DKK 45,000 per month, they will receive 2,800 and 4,365 kroner more in monthly salary.

Log on to IDA's Salary Statistics and check how much a member of your age can expect to increase in salary

The desire for recognition has no age

Seniors in the labour market must therefore go into salary negotiations with more or less the same expectations as their younger colleagues. And according to Lars Budde Nielsen, they are weighed on the same parameters when a salary increase has to be justified.

Therefore, the seniors must ask themselves the classic questions to find out whether it is time for a heavier pay packet: How have I performed and how is my company doing?

"In relation to one's own performance, it matters a lot whether you have been given increased areas of responsibility, have you been part of some special successes, acquired new customers for the company or helped run some key projects to the finish line?" explains Lars Budde Nielsen.

It is therefore important that you do not sit back and think that the experience should speak for itself.

Read more on salary negotiations in different situations

Can you negotiate for something other than salary in DKK?

If you don't get the salary increase you feel you deserve, there are a few other ways to go, says Lars Budde Nielsen.

Firstly, you can try to have a conversation with your manager about what it takes to get a pay rise. Or you can agree that you will talk again in six months to maintain your wish.

Conversely, you can also look towards other benefits, which are not counted in kroner and øre, but in holiday days and flexibility. Such alternative benefits are written into several public agreements, but they do not hang on the trees in the private sector.

These can be so-called senior days, which are a few paid days off per year for employees who are over 62 years of age. Or it could be employees who have negotiated to reduce their time by a few hours per week, while maintaining the same pension payment.

"But our members find it difficult to negotiate anything other than salary, because the private employers do not want all possible special arrangements," he explains and points to a third option.

5 tips for your salary negotiation

  1. Prepare your arguments for the salary interview
  2. You must not use your colleagues' salary as an argument
  3. Find alternatives to a salary increase – you can also negotiate about that
  4. Be constructive if you don't get a raise
  5. Use IDA's salary tools

Continuing education can pave the way for a salary increase for next year

"Although it shouldn't be connected like that, you can benefit by bringing continuing education into the conversation about salary negotiations", says Lars Budde Nielsen.

But have seniors not gotten the raises they deserve, might someone object? Lars Budde Nielsen does not think so. Employees can easily increase in value throughout their working lives.

"Especially if you remember to further your education and keep your skills sharp. If it's been a long time - then maybe this is the year you have to negotiate for some serious further training, so there's a good argument for more salary kroner next year. As an experienced employee, you cannot expect your manager to have insight into your often specialized skills and the opportunity for further training.”

At the same time, the need for recognition has no age, believes Lars Budde Nielsen:

“It is part of the psychology of going to work. No matter how old you are, you need that moment of recognition, which to a large extent happens via the salary.”